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Chinese Rival BOE to Pull Ahead AUO of Taiwan in 2015 TV-panel Shipments: WitsView

Nov 10, 2015 | By Quincy Liang

Global shipments of thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels for TV applications increased 9.9 percent month-on-month (MoM) and 13.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 24.47 million units in September, according to WitsView, a division of TrendForce.

Iris Hu, WitsView assistant research manager, stated that the TV panel market experienced a steady rise in stock-up demand during the first half of 2015. At the same time, TV-panel prices have been falling from the end of the first quarter, so the overall demand from TV vendors did not drop despite some uncertainties in the TV market.

In the third quarter of 2015, panel prices continued to decline, while Chinese panel makers added more production capacity, motivating TV vendors to place more orders in exchange for lower key-parts cost.

Global TV panel shipments reached 69.06 million units in the third quarter, translating to a 2.7 percent growth quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) and 7.4 percent YoY growth. Additionally, accumulated TV-panel shipments for the first three quarters of 2015 exceeded 201 million units, resulting in an impressive YoY growth of 10.6 percent, WitsView said.

Top TV-panel suppliers worldwide by shipment 2014-2015.(Source: WitsView, October 2015.)Top TV-panel suppliers worldwide by shipment 2014-2015.(Source: WitsView, October 2015.)

Strengthening Chinese Players
LG Display (LGD) of South Korea topped the ranking of TV-panel shipments in the first three quarters of 2015 with 41.73 million units. Hu said that LG's eye-catching performance this year can be attributed to the competitive pricing of its mainstream products and its broad client base. LGD not only continues to work with its parent company to develop branded TV products, the panel maker also strengthens its relationship with both first- and second-tier Chinese vendors, such as Skyworth. WitsView estimates LGD's annual shipments for this year to reach 55 million units, up 5.9 percent YoY.

Innolux Corp. of Taiwan, an affiliate of the Hon Hai Group and recognized as the largest panel maker on the island, shipped a total of 39.06 million TV panels during the first three quarters, making it the No. 2 for the period. Innolux's panel shipments rose  in the first half of 2015 thanks to its contract with the Mexican government. The company also supplied 39.5-inch TV panels to Samsung Electronics throughout the whole second half, further assuring its stable delivery. Innolux's total shipment for 2015 is projected to grow 2.3 percent to 51.3 million units.

Samsung Display Corporation (SDC), another Korean panel maker, followed closely behind Innolux at No. 3 with accumulated shipments of 38.76 million units during the January-September period. Due to the Samsung Electronics' decision to cut the order volume, SDC will likely lose its top spot in the annual shipment ranking as its shipments this year are projected to drop 6.6 percent from 2014 to 51.7 million units.

BOE Technology Group of China shipped 24.77 million units of TV panels in the first three quarters, enabling it to jump to the No. 4 spot by pulling ahead Taiwanese counterpart AU Optronics Corp. (AUO). With a new 8.5th-generation (8.5G) panel plant in operation, BOE massively expanded its shipments and has been the leader of the 32-inch panel segment with over 2 million units shipped every month since May. At the same time, the Chinese panel maker has been aggressively developing large-sized products, such as 48- and 55-inch TV panels.

WitsView said that BOE might suffer a 3-4 percent quarterly TV-panel shipment drop in the fourth quarter due to seasonality, but its total 2015 shipments are expected to increase by 140 percent to more than 34 million units. Thus, it is likely to hold the fourth-place position in the annual TV panel shipment ranking, edging out AUO of Taiwan and Chinese rival China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT).

AUO's TV-panel shipments during the first three quarters totaled 20.22 million units, down 6.5 percent YoY. The decline was attributed to the panel maker's product-mixture adjustment, to utilize existing capacity for making more 4K2K, or UHD (Ultra High Definition), and 50-inch-plus TV panels. AUO is projected to ship 26.4 million TV panels this year, which will be a YoY decline of 8.3 percent.

CSOT, which suffered a sharp shipment decrease in 32-inch TV panels due to an accident at one of its panel factories, gradually returned on-track in the third quarter. The Chinese company's accumulated TV-panel shipments in the first three quarters were 17.75 million units. CSOT's new 8.5G plant kicked off operation this year and focuses on production of 55-inch UHD TV panels. With the new capacity being used for large-sized panels and the shipment plunge of the 32-inch products, CSOT's anual shipments are estimated to fall by 2.5 percent to 24 million units, WitsView said.

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